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Opinion by R Al Bain
Our system of government is broke and badly in need of, shall we say “reinvention” to borrow a buzz word from our nerd governor. It’s entirely up to the citizens of Michigan to see to it that this happens. We citizens elect those to government positions to “serve” us not the other way around. We citizens are their employers (boss) and they are our employees (workers)!
If a business hires someone to do a job for them and they do not satisfactorily carry out the duty’s they were hired for they are terminated. The same should hold true for our elected officials. It doesn’t matter if they were elected for two or four year terms that should not be a reason for those to continue a disservice to the citizenry. There are mechanisms in place in which the public if dissatisfied with their performance can use to relieve them of their duty as a representative of the people such as the re-call process.
This process is part of the checks and balances of recourse provided to the citizens in the constitution. The problem is that there are those within perceived power and position both partisan and non-partisan that do not adhere to the peoples will. The old saying “they protect their own” is very prevalent within “the good ole’ boy’s club of government. A grand example of this is the recent rally or the “circling of the wagon’s” in support around Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville for his failed leadership and ill-moral behavior not only as a representative of the people but as a Roman Catholic as well.
A hearing May, 2, 2012 to approve the re-call language on a petition to re-call Senator Richardville was rejected because according to the Monroe County Elections Commission the language was not clear for the voters to interpret. “I expected it,” said Jeff Andring, who is trying to recall Richardville. “Randy Richardville sent an attorney down from Lansing. They cost a lot of money, and I’m just a common citizen.” Mr. Andring filed a revised copy of the language May, 3, 2012!
Some of the readers comment on several news articles in regard to the rejection of the language is as follows – “One would half to be asleep to miss the meaning of the wording of this petition” – “What the Hey? Sounds like the County Board couldn’t bear to have a recall of the Republican majority leader, now could they”? It would appear that the board didn’t like the “right-to-teach” aspect of the language because it didn’t contain the Senate Bill number. How many citizens know what a Senate Bill number is anyway? It’s the explanation with the words that count!
Senate Majority Leader Steps Down Amid Adultery Scandal
It’s getting to be a bad joke: Pick a Republican who’s attacked same-sex marriage and they’re either gay themselves or done something totally ill-moral to besmirch the holy institution.
Leadership in the Republican Legislature “AWOL”
For someone who has been in the political arena for over 10 years Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville has been, to borrow a military term, absent without leave (AWOL)! New Government Bridge, Autism Mandates, Mortgage Legislation tailored for one, Movie and Film Studio taxpayer funded subsidies along with taxpayer funded subsidies for Michigan International Speedway are all things Michigan’s economic recovery and it’s taxpayers cannot afford.
Consider Governor Snyder’s recipe for the budget that so far is not winning him any legislative ribbons. Lawmakers are essentially giving him a cheery wave and a casual brush off as they substitute ingredients. Virtually all of Mr. Snyder’s proposed changes in terms of best practices and evaluations in the different education budgets were dumped. Also dumped by at least some legislators were his proposals to add more general fund money to some parts of education spending, putting more pressure on the School Aid Fund.
Mr. Snyder called for a film credit cap of $25 million. So far, the Legislature is doubling it to $50 million with Senator Richardville liking the $100 million figure better! No surprise with this one because Senator Richardville has to pay back his Movie Producer and Film Studio buddies with the favorable legislation he has and continues to introduced all at the cost of the Michigan taxpayers! Mr. Richardville’s all expenses paid trips to the Hollywood Emmy’s has been well documented.
The Senate also voted to take some sales tax revenues on fuel sales, which will again put some pressure on schools and other budget areas, to put towards roads, and then trashed Mr. Snyder’s proposal to put more than $100 million in general funds into the state transportation budget. They replaced most of that money with the funds they had voted to take out of the sales tax.
The citizens of Michigan must ask themselves if this the kind of leadership and representation that they expect and deserve out of their elected officials in Lansing? This citizen feels that it’s high time and long overdue for new leadership in Lansing and the Senate Republicans have a duty and obligation to the citizens of Michigan as to elect a new leader!
Local Governments Don’t Like What’s Happening in Lansing
The GOP dominated state legislature with it’s “failed leader” wants to repeal the Personal Property Tax on the equipment that businesses purchase. Local governments units collect millions of dollars by taxing the equipment that businesses purchase. If that revenue source goes bye-bye, the already financially strapped local communities will be strapped even more and will be forced to “raise your taxes” to replace the lost revenue.
Despite Cuts Michigan Cities Facing Budget Shortfalls
With all the recent legislative tax cuts to Businesses under the guise of job creation communities are facing budget shortfalls because of a continuing sharp decline in home property values. I can attest to this with home appraisals I received on my home in 2009 and 2012. In 2009 my home was appraised for $25 thousand dollars less than the purchase price and another $42 thousand with the 2012 appraisal.
Michigan’s Little Taxation Without Representation Secret
What in the heck were lawmakers thinking in 1978 when they created an agency that can tax all of us without a shred of sunshine on the process? Or were they smoking something at the time? You’ll find this difficult to fathom but lawmakers created the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association and then told it do everything pretty much in secret, minus its mandated yearly financial statement.
A Movie Script You Won’t Believe – Proposed Title of Movie: Film Credits for the Wealthy or The Studio the Taxpayer Built
Plot Summary: Imagine this — Four wealthy and politically connected businessmen concoct an elaborate scheme, using their checkbooks and relationships, to secure a taxpayer-funded movie studio for their own personal financial gain. Call them “The Gang of Four.”
Scene One: Have Michigan taxpayers provide the greatest tax giveaway for movie making in the country, allowing The Gang of Four to walk away with even more money, subsidized by the taxpayer.
Scene Two: Have Michigan taxpayers (as well as local and federal taxpayers) pay to build them a movie studio.
Scene Three: When newly elected reform-minded politicians threaten to end this scheme, The Gang of Four use their political clout and campaign cash to keep this system in place.
This is a script even Hollywood hasn’t come up with. Read on….
Michigan-Subsidized Film Studio Fails; State Pension Fund Had Guaranteed Loan
2011 Senate Bill 569: Revise film subsidies (Public Act 291 of 2011)
Introduced by Sen. Randy Richardville (R) on July 13, 2011, to revise the state film incentive program, converting it into a straightforward subsidy program rather than an indirect one, with awards of up to 30 percent of the expenses a film producer incurs in Michigan. Reportedly the bill’s sponsor wants to increase the subsidies from $25 million already appropriated in 2012 to $100 million annually.
2011 Senate Bill 383: Retain state film subsidy program (Public Act 77 of 2011)
Introduced by Sen. Mike Kowall (R) and co-sponsored by Sen. Randy Richardville (R) on May 12, 2011, to empower the state government film office to grant smaller tax break/subsidies less than the 42 percent of a producer’s Michigan expenses currently authorized by the state’s unlimited film subsidy program. The program will be replaced next year by $25 million appropriated by the Legislature to hand out to film producers.
2008 House Bill 5841: Give subsidies for Michigan film production (Senate Roll Call 160)
Passed 37 to 1 in the Senate on March 20, 2008 with Senator Richardville voting in favor, to authorize a Michigan Business Tax credit of up to 42 percent of a film studio’s expenses for shooting a film or TV show in Michigan. The credits would be refundable, so if their value exceeded a studio’s tax liability the state would send them a check for the difference. The bill contains no cap on the aggregate value of the film subsidies.
Cost to Replace Lost Jobs with Michigan Film Subsidies: $39.4 Billion
Michigan employment declined by 204,000 jobs during 2009. Replacing all these lost jobs with subsidized film production jobs would have cost state taxpayers $39.4 billion (or $9.0 billion if the “indirect” jobs estimate is included.
Republican-led Legislature Votes Overwhelmingly to Continue ‘Big Hollywood’ Film Subsidy
SB 569 was originally passed by the Senate on Nov. 3. The bill’s sponsor is Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, who previously said he would like to budget as much as $100 million for the film subsidy program.
Michigan movie studio defaults on bond payment, state pension funds to cover costs
A Michigan movie studio that opened just ten months ago is in default on an $18 million state-issued bond. Raleigh Studios made a big splash when it opened in Pontiac last March, with its seven sound stages and state of the art facilities. But now the movie studio can no longer meet its debt obligations, and will not make a $420,000
Michigan’s Film and Movie Subsidies Cost Taxpayers
The plot thickened when Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, who has been working to reverse the scaled back program, said the following to the Gongwer news service: “A few years ago we told some Michigan investors that if they invest in an industry that we would back them. And we gave them parameters and now we’ve changed that. We sent several businesses away that would help recoup that investment.”
By “sent several businesses away,” he means taxpayers stopped picking up 42 percent of film producers’ expenses. In other words, Sen. Richardville is using this default to lobby the governor and his colleagues to give more loot to film producers, insinuating that the state is breaking a promise by choosing to give away less loot instead.
Sorry, Sen. Richardville, but it doesn’t work that way. The individuals who finagled a state pension fund guarantee from Gov. Granholm are big boys who understand that their “business model” was in fact a purely political bet, not a business one, and the risks involved are likewise political as well as financial. And now their political bet is coming up a loser for the taxpaying citizens of Michigan!
Government Bridge, Casinos, “Right-to-Work” Union Issues Make November Ballot
As many as eight proposals may be on Michigan’s November ballot. Besides the deadlock over the proposal to repeal the state’s emergency manager law, the State Board of Canvassers approved petitions Thursday that would: Click the link to see the proposals.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley Thinks “Government” is Private Sector
Fresh off his signing into law the Autism “mandate” that insurance companies cover that disorder (Governor Snyder was overseas) Calley spoke to a subscription bases news publication in Lansing. He proceeded to make the following statements that should show the citizens of Michigan why we need term limits. When our elected officials feel that the government is part of the private sector you know they have been in office to long!
Calley called the antics by the DIBC, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, the only span across the Detroit River, “more of the same.This is in regard to the ballot campaign launched by the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) that would constitutionally mandate that any “New Government International Bridge” be brought before the voters for a public vote”. He said it’s further proof that they’re “scared of private sector competition” since there are other very capable companies that want to build that second span. What did he just say? Since when is the Government part of the private sector?
Michigan Bank to close 6 metro Detroit branches
Huntington National Bank plans to close six branches in metro Detroit at the end of June as it consolidates a few of the offices of the former Fidelity Bank into its operations.
Regulators shut down Dearborn-based Fidelity Bank
Troubled lender Fidelity Bank, which has Dearborn headquarters, was closed Friday by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation.
“Politicians and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason” ~ Mark Twain